First published in 1939, this Singer tour de force offering some fifty
carefully chosen classic texts from Yamato to the Momoyama period and fully
annotated, remains as significant a point of reference today as it did
sixty years ago. It is both a primer for the student of Japanese social
history as well as a delightful guided tour through a thousand years of
Japanese culture, customs and etiquette. 'Some of these pages are
chosen as they throw light on ways in which the Japanese in remoter
periods felt, thought and behaved,' writes Singer. 'Some may illuminate
details of social organization, economic conditions and administration.
The most beautiful, however, may be taken as definitive formulations of
standards, norms, moral, religious, aesthetic and sentimental; expressions
of the innermost life of a nation which give significance to its existence
and justify its greatest aspirations.'